Chapter 373: Arche, the Devilish Reigning City
The royal capital Arche. A land of extreme glory and regarded as the center of continental culture.
Merchants busily arrived and left between the mansions of high-ranking aristocrats, with goods that couldn’t be seen in provincial cities. In the streets, the common people received a part of the glory and enjoyed the well-deserved happiness.
It was a little different from the bustle of the trading city of Garoua Maria, but even so, the royal capital Arche was undoubtedly emitting the light of boundless prosperity.
Tomorrow would be better than today, and the next would be richer than before. The aristocrats and commoners who lived in this bright place didn’t doubt it. Human beings were incapable to think that what they had now could disappear one day.
However, no matter how solid it was, its power and glory could eventually disappear. Even the Kingdom itself. The moment it was born, it was already destined to collapse.
The royal capital Arche. The center of the continent, once enveloped in gold, was no longer a human city.
This was now the land where demonic beings reigned and ruled. Humans had no right to live openly as they wished.
「Hmm…hey. Did you die? Hey. Are you listening? 」
A being spoke in a relaxed tone, but not in a very fluent manner. The human woman had her limbs twisted while her eyes were gouged out. She didn’t reply and made no sound. At first glance, it looked like she was dead.
However, she was still warm. The demonic being sensed it because of the close contact.
He raised her arm and punched her in the face. Red blood spilled. Once, twice. Her neat nose got malformed, and her teeth flew off.
And then, after the third time, the woman finally responded. She seemed to have passed out.
「He…help. No more…please stop!? 」
Her wounds hurt terribly. The sentences were greatly distorted. She clearly communicated through the limits of her consciousness.
However, the demonic being still held her in his arms and took her body heat as his own.
He didn’t hear human voices. It was nothing more than a chirping sound, a spice that added color to things.
It made no sense. The woman cried over and over again. She begged for help, she begged for forgiveness, she begged for salvation. She even screamed at times.
The demonic being didn’t mind hearing those chirping sounds, but he got a little annoyed in the end. Then, he inadvertently put strength into his arms.
Suddenly, a painful sound reverberated. The sound warmed the demonic being’s heart for a while, but soon that too was lost. He sighed at the same time.
She no longer cried. Behind this devilishness, a voice called out. A voice that didn’t even try to hide its astonishment.
「Logom, you always do the same thing. Are you that cold, huh? You know it’s a waste.」
Logom. The so-called magical beast who threw away the woman’s corpse to the ground. The woman’s body was lustrous like a mineral, without expression or mood.
「…It’s cold. Very, very cold. You won’t understand even as a fellow magical beast.」
Some demonic beings were born from rocks. Therefore, they didn’t feel heat or cold, as they had neither skin nor flesh.
However, for some reason, Logom was always attacked by a cold that made him feel impatient. Even if the sun hit his body, he felt like he was freezing.
Was it his soul or something else entirely? Nobody knew. However, Logom felt unbearably cold.
Therefore, he killed people. The light of life gave him heat. The heat of the living blood healed his cold body, albeit for the blink of an eye.
Kobolt, the magical beast with a cat’s head and human limbs, sighed and spoke.
「C’mon, Logom. You may have forgotten, but our Lord didn’t give his permission.」
Kobolt mentioned their master. Be it Kobolt or Logom. They didn’t even know they had a name in the first place. What name was in store for their kind of devilishness?
However, Drigman said they had a race and a name, as they bore intelligence. They just lost it once. Kobolt didn’t understand the deep meaning of those words, but if their Lord said so, it must be true.
Besides, he knew it wasn’t that bad. It was good for them to be affected by a greater demonic being. It gave them intellect that crawled on the brain fluid and power to move their bodies. They were getting stronger day by day due to the influence of their master.
「…Lord Drigman told us to do as we please. So, I’ll do whatever I like. 」
While speaking indifferently, Logom replied to Kobolt immediately. His limb that looked like an arm pointed to the corner of the room. There was a woman who was one size smaller than the woman from earlier.
She was probably a little girl. Her face was pale, tears and sweat were all over her face, and there was no trace of her mother’s neat look.
She sat there, exhaling her breath violently while moving her shoulders up and down. She got Logom’s attention as he leaked his voice.
「There’s one left. Let’s do it again. It’s always the same, huh. 」
It had to be done for the numbers to match, implied Logom. Once again, Kobolt shook his shoulders and tilted his cat-looking face. After all, it seemed that demonic beings had different sensibilities.
Logom alleged it wasn’t a waste to balance the numbers, showing his fangs while approaching the little girl. Kobolt opened his mouth while pitying the girl’s frightened figure.
「Humans taste better if you treat them more carefully. If you kill them roughly, their meat will taste bad.」
Then, Kobolt trampled the girl’s tightly clenched fingers. A few soothing sounds echoed, revealing that her hand was no longer useful.
The girl’s scream. An appeal that seemed to follow her mother’s cry. Kobolt did the same with the other hand, and then crushed her leg. The girl’s cries echoed each time, and her tears and sweat ran down endlessly.
This was a popular pastime for Kobolt, who recently figured out how to skillfully hurt humans without killing them. It was said that he had the skill to peel off the skin from the whole body while keeping the human alive. Human flesh that had been tortured was truly delicious.
Unknowingly, Kobolt began licking its tongue. The essence of his cruelty, along with slight hunger, showed the true colors of his tyranny.
Now it was Logom’s turn to sigh at what Kobolt had done. The act of hurting the human endlessly in order to eat was hard for Logom to understand.
At that moment, Logom remembered. Actually, wasn’t the mother trying to protect her daughter? Logom faintly remembered the woman saying to spare her only daughter.
Her daughter was now in Kobolt’s hands, bleeding from her limbs. In the end, she would be killed by Kobolt. Logom thought it was fine.
He didn’t kill the girl himself, so he kept his promise to her mother. He remembered the promises he made to humans, so he described himself as righteous. More than anything else, protecting his essence was the most important thing.
In the royal capital, and in the surrounding villages, this scene was now the everyday life.
The royal capital Arche. The throne room.
This place, which had maintained its splendor, had the illusion that order was still maintained in the city of Arche.
However, it was not the crown that sat on the throne, but the magical devilish being Drigman. It was not a nobleman or a soldier who served him, but a half-human, half-beast named Velg. There was no human figure in this place.
「We are steadily gathering humans from the surrounding villages. But it seems that some of our soldiers are doing bad things in between…」
Velg informed Drigman about the current affairs, but his words were somewhat clouded. He didn’t know how tolerant his master, who was called the Controller, would be. He even thought that his master would express his anger at the actions of his soldiers, by killing the last humans of their livestock.
However, contrary to Velg’s imagination, Drigman’s face showed nothing serious. He was rather calm.
「Isn’t it fine? I shall forgive them for a few things. Their actions are just a play. I wouldn’t say it’s desirable, but I shall accept it to some extent. Besides, it will be good for humans to understand their own position now.」
Hearing those words, Velg stroked his chest in relief. Little by little, he was beginning to understand the character of the magical devilish being Drigman.
Drigman had been very tolerant of their demonic instincts. He didn’t blame any of his subjects, unlike other demonic leaders.
「Humans are a strong race. They will come back even if we kill dozens of them. They greatly mistrust our cause, and we have that proof as a living example.」
While smiling at his master, who exchanged that word play as if trusting the lowly humans to abide, Velg continued his words after bending his horse’s legs.
「It’s about the humans in the fortress. It seems that there are still humans who are trying to rebel. The number of soldiers is higher than ours.」
10,000 or 20,000. At Velg’s report, Drigman squeezed his hand and twisted his lips. He even showed a slight smile.
Drigman pretended to take it lightly. In fact, the report didn’t really bother him. He already knew that humans were rebellious.
Besides, there were a few other things to worry about.
The first was Zebrililith, who was Drigman’s master and called a Great Demon. The one and only existence that he certainly felt. It looked like Zebrililith hadn’t regained his will. No matter how many times Drigman called him, he did not answer. Drigman felt that he hadn’t escaped from Altia’s control yet.
The second problem was other beings that were once called Great Demons were beginning to wake up. That’s why it was important for Zebrililith to regain his will as soon as possible.
There was another problem. Drigman had something on his mind.
His own compatriot. The Jewel Bar Agathos had yet to appear. Since he had awakened, it was obvious that she awoke too.
With those thoughts in mind, for the first time, Drigman realized that he was feeling impatient. He didn’t seem to like it. His inner self, which was supposed to just create order, was frustrated.
He was greatly upset of what he had done once. Therefore, he wanted to do well this time.
While mocking himself, Drigman smiled and spoke to Velg.
「I understand. Thank you for your hard work. Then, we mustn’t neglect this. We have to prepare a strategy. Humans don’t need courage or wisdom. Let’s dispose of them together.」
Velg once again entrusted himself to his master, a magical devilish being, and nodded obediently. He showed an unmistakable sign of respect.
Near the royal capital Arche. She stood there, leaving footprints on the white ground where death snow poured down. At first glance, she looked like an ordinary girl, since there was nothing wrong with her appearance.
The only thing suspicious about her was that she had been walking outside alone in the death snow.
Everyone disliked the outside where the devilish aura spread through, and even if they went out, they would stretch their legs in fear. The figure of a girl who walked around in the death snow without a merchant wagon was too strange.
Even if there were some unavoidable circumstances, it would be normal for her to act with fear. But she was different. She behaved with dignity while walking in the snow. She even sang to herself.
After seeing the royal capital Arche from afar, she spread her hands and spoke in a loud voice, perhaps with a joyful expression on her face. Her toes even jumped lightly.
「…Ah! My beloved capital! I’m back after hundreds of years! No, maybe more. I never thought I’d be able to come back! 」
There was an abundance of fulfillment and joy in those words. Contrary to her girlish appearance, she expressed her joy by using a slightly grown-up tone.
「Since I’m here, it means my good behavior paid off! I’m amazing! As expected of me! The most beautiful in the world!」
Death snow. In the midst of a land full of magical beasts, she was excessively expressing her emotions. But the strangeness of this girl didn’t stop here.
Even though she was alone, she spoke as if she were talking to someone else.
「…You’re so noisy. I hate a girl like you who has dark roots. How can you be so gloomy?」
There was no one around her. Both the human form and the magical beast form meshed well. Yet, she continued to speak alone.
「To tell you the truth, you would’ve died if I hadn’t been there. It’s all your fault that things have turned out like this, so please be quiet. I don’t want to use your body either.」
It was like a theatrical monologue. One could even call it a one-man show. It was like one person trying to play two roles.
The girl, as expected, uttered words with a pretense to convince someone else.
「Are you sure? I’m a jewel. It shines more than anyone else, and no one can defile it. You are the one who should be quiet.」
After saying those words, the girl left her footprints in the snowfield again. There was only one destination. Arche, a city no longer under the control of humans.
The actors who colored the stage were trying to get together in one place.